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BYU Outreach Choir Sings in Guadeloupe

On March 15–18, the BYU Outreach Choir traveled to Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean to share music and build relationships with the community. The experience was fully supported and partially funded by the Caribbean Area of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Conducted by Dr. Brent Wells and Dr. Andrew Crane, the Outreach Choir comprised 13 students who are current members of either the BYU Singers or BYU Concert Choir.

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Dr. Andrew Crane (left) and Dr. Brent Wells (right) conduct the BYU Outreach Choir.
Photo by Andrew Crane

This year’s choir members were Samantha Gordon, Lizzie Stein, Rebecca Miess, Angie Whiting, Nicole Dayton, Beatrice Smith, Hannah Klassen, Samuel Gilbert, Erik Peterson, Blake Wayment, Michael Wells, Ben Young, and Samuel West, with David Kime on the piano.

The BYU Outreach Choir collaborated with the Gospel Celebration Singers—a local Seventh-day Adventist gospel choir. The two groups performed in a concert titled “The Family United in Christ” at the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in the city of Pointe-à-Prite. Both groups performed several numbers, and two BYU students, Nicole Dayton and Lizzie Stein, even sang solo pieces in French. President and Sister Occolier, who currently preside over the Guadeloupe, Martinique, and French Guiana district, spoke at the event.

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Guadeloupe residents enjoy hearing the BYU Outreach Choir.
Photo by Andrew Crane

Not only did the Outreach Choir sing beautifully but they also inspired many people—members and nonmembers alike—who attended the concert in Guadeloupe. Elder Claude Gamiette, an Area Seventy, expressed to Dr. Crane that the concert “completely melted away” negative feelings and misconceptions that the community may have had about the Church. The choir lifted and brought light to the Caribbean with the power of music.

The trip also included other special events, such as sacrament meeting performances at two branches. Dr. Crane, Dr. Wells, and the choir also led a masterclass discussing choral, vocal, and conducting techniques. Later, the Outreach Choir recorded a music video of the song “Were You There?” for the Church’s Caribbean Area Public Affairs department.

Angie Whiting, a member of the ensemble, commented on her experience in Guadeloupe, saying, “How incredible is it that our mouths couldn’t speak the same language, but our hearts sang the same song. . . . [Music] bypasses that form of verbal communication that we use so often.” She recalls singing with the Gospel Celebration Singers as a true highlight of the trip. She was touched by how soulfully this choir sang their praises to Jesus Christ. Angie says, “It was beautiful to blend our spirituality with theirs and to see how both styles of music praised God in such a normal and natural way.”

How incredible is it that our mouths couldn’t speak the same language, but our hearts sang the same song.
Angie Whiting

The Caribbean Area of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU experiential learning, and Tim Wright contributed to funding this trip. Dr. Crane says, “We wish to thank [these parties] whose generous donations provide support for impactful student travel of this kind.”

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The Outreach Choir performs in the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul.
Photo by Andrew Crane

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